Is Seoul losing its personality?

Oh no, Mr. Dinghy Shop has gone! I miss him. He had such a great personality. He was so upbeat and full of life. So spontaneous. Now he’s gone and been replaced by a much more solemn and conservative chap. I don’t think we’ll be friends. Above (2011) Below (2012)

And it’s not just Mr Dinghy Shop that’s gone. I’ve written before about the fast pace that construction work is going on around Seoul. Residential areas with any personality at all (which includes housing for lower income families) are knocked down and replaced with huge generic apartment complexes since everyone wants to live in an apartment. That means that the local market stalls disappear too as people who live in apartments will want  supermarkets. I was told that this is how you can tell if you’re middle class in Korea: if you live in an apartment you are middle class; if you live in a villa (a cheaper flat in a building with only 3 or 4 floors and no security system or guard ) then you are working class. Simple!

But it’s not just housing that’s becoming generic. Restaurants that are not part of a big chain struggle too. Last night we tried to go to an octopus restaurant we like in Jogno, but of course it’s closed now and there’s (yes you’ve guessed it) ANOTHER COFFEE SHOP (from a chain) in its place. How many coffee shops does one city need?

And this is the second time this had happened to us recently. A few weeks ago we went for a walk to Sogang University and were looking forward to having a spicy mushroom hot pot dish for lunch (yes I like to organise walks and activities around what I want to eat) But when we got there it had CLOSED DOWN. It’s probably been about a year since we were there before. The builders were in and I won’t be surprised if that place turns into a coffee shop chain too. grrrr. Although I do like coffee.

I get that things have to change. But it seems to be getting harder and harder to find anywhere that is a bit different. And so the closing of the dinghy shop? That was a sorry sight indeed.


One thought on “Is Seoul losing its personality?

  • December 24, 2013 at 2:53 am

    I love all of your posts about Seoul and the constructions going around there. It s truly sad that the little that made seoul magic is disappearing bit by bit…..

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